BY AMADO P. MACASAET
‘Like those who speak without thinking, Corona confirmed that he is nothing more than a political partisan.’
AS he was about to be impeached, Chief Justice Renato Corona dramatically stepped out of the Supreme Court to address his loyal minions. His message was loud and clear: Bring it on!
Like a small town mayor addressing a party caucus in front of the town hall, Corona that day shed every veneer of judicial statesmanship.
Using crude rhetoric worthy of the gutter and condescension typical of a small claims lawyer, Corona virtually called PNoy dumb and stupid several times in his speech. The clueless partisan crowd laughed and cheered him on.
Like those who speak without thinking, Corona failed to realize that the joke was actually on him.
Corona sealed his fate with his belligerent tone. He confirmed that he is nothing more than a political partisan who let politics seep into the judiciary. With his speech, he willingly entered the political arena to joust with a politician who had just won an election in overwhelming fashion and managed the rare feat of keeping his popularity after assuming office.
If anything, Corona confirmed that magistrates are better read than heard.
A magistrate is better off speaking through their decisions. The worthy ones write decisions that display their erudition. Jurisprudence they pen shaped the evolution of our laws. In well written prose, they showcase their legal philosophy. In their decisions, they marry the facts with the law in the grandest fashion, in full glory and majesty of the law.
Corona fails in this class of jurists as much as he deserves his fake doctorate degree summa cum laude.
As in his bellicose speeches, one decision written by Corona has come back to haunt him in his own trial.
In 2003, Corona penned a decision against the Marcoses and found them to have amassed ill-gotten wealth. To justify a speedy resolution of the case, Corona wrote: “This Court has set aside technicalities and formalities that merely serve to delay or impede judicious resolution x x x substantial justice to the Filipino people and to all parties concerned, not mere legalisms or perfection of form, should now be relentlessly pursued. x x x If there is proof of illegal acquisition, accumulation, misappropriation, fraud or illicit conduct, let it be brought out now.”
Sound advice that Corona should give his obstructionist defense lawyers in his own trial today.
In the same decision, Corona also seemed to lecture the prosecution on how to establish that a government official has amassed ill-gotten wealth.
The prescient Corona argued that between the government and the Marcoses, the latter were in a better position to know if they had other sources of lawful income. Hence, if indeed there was such other lawful income, the Marcoses should have specifically stated the same in their Answer.
Contrary to his own ruling, however, Corona did not specifically allege any other source or lawful income in his answer to the impeachment complaint. Corona has shown the prosecution why his own answer is fatally flawed.
Beyond this, Corona also taught the prosecution a simple formula to establish legal presumption of ill-gotten wealth against him. All that they need to do is to: (I) establish his ownership of money or property acquired during his incumbency, whether in his name or otherwise; and (2) determine the extent to which the amount of that money or property exceeds, or is grossly disproportionate to, his legitimate income.
Thankfully, the prosecution seems to be heeding Corona’s advise at the rate they are presenting their evidence. It may be good for the defense lawyers to heed Corona’s advice as well.
That leaves us with the senator judges. Now that the tables have been turned, it makes me wonder if Senator Judge Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. will also listen to Corona and apply the same simple formula against him.
As for Corona, he seems to have finally listened to his own words and realized that the best way to keep his foot out of his mouth is to keep it shut.
Unless of course he is about to say – No mas! No mas as boxer Duran shouted in the ring even without having been floored.
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PERRY’S NOTE: I’ve been wondering what “FMD” means? So I googled it and here’s what I found in Urban Dictionary >> FMD